• Poison hemlock grows throughout the U.S.
  • All of its parts are poisonous
  • Wild parsnip can increase sensitivity to sunlight
  • Any contact with wild parsnip may lead to painful blisters

Two particularly dangerous plants have been thriving in the state of Ohio. Typically found together, one of them can cause painful blisters while the other can be deadly.

Authorities in Ohio are warning people about two invasive plants that can cause serious problems if they come in contact with them, reported The Columbus Dispatch. These are poison hemlock and wild parsnip, the former being one of the deadliest plants in North America.

Both plants are members of the carrot family and are not native to Ohio, The Ohio State University said in a blog. They typically grow together and look quite similar, with poison hemlock having white flowers and wild parsnip having yellow flowers. However, the two pose different dangers.

Ingesting any part of poison hemlock is dangerous

Poison hemlock is said to be very toxic, with all parts of the plant being poisonous, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. This means people can get poisoned by eating any part of it, whether it's the roots, fruit, stem or leaves that they ingested. Often, poisoning happens when people mistake its roots for that of other plants.

According to the agency, whistles made from its hollow stems have even caused death in children. As for animals like sheep, they can die from respiratory paralysis within two to three hours of eating the plant.

Although poison hemlock is said to be more visible in North Central Ohio this year "than ever before," the plant actually grows throughout the U.S. For instance, it's also said to be in peak bloom in Pennsylvania.

Wild parsnip causes painful blisters

While poison hemlock is dangerous when eaten, wild parsnip can be dangerous when touched. The plant produces compounds that can cause severe blisters, rash, localized burning and discoloration in those who come in contact with it.

The condition is called phytophotodermatitis, the New York Invasive Species (NYIS) Information said, explaining that it is not an allergic reaction but a "chemical burn" that happens because of the skin's increased sensitivity to sunlight. It is caused by contact with the sap, not the foliage of the plant.

In some cases, the discoloration and sensitivity to sunlight can persist for up to two years.

What to do if affected by the plants

All parts of poison hemlock are toxic even in small amounts, and the plant can kill through respiratory failure, according to Healthline.

Symptoms of hemlock poisoning may begin 30 minutes to hours after ingesting the plant and may include trembling, dilated pupils, muscle paralysis, increased salivation and burning in the digestive tract. Other symptoms include rapid heart rate followed by a decrease in heart rate, convulsions and loss of speech.

Those who experience these symptoms after eating a herb or plant should seek medical attention right away.

As for wild parsnip, those who come in contact with it should immediately cover the area to prevent having a reaction from exposure to sunlight. They should also wash the affected area with water and mild soap, NYIS said.

If it has already caused a burn, it should be covered with a cool, damp cloth to relieve the pain and be kept out of the sunlight. However, it's important to see a physician if the burn is severe.

Poisonous Plant/Hemlock
Representative image. Pixabay